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Massalskaya U.V. THE CONCEPT OF "ALLUSION" AND APPROACHES TO ITS STUDY / U.V. Massalskaya, L.I. Ikhsanova, O.A. Bezzemelnaya // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2020. — № 4 (24). — С. 74—76. — URL: (дата обращения: 26.10.2021. ).
Massalskaya U.V. THE CONCEPT OF "ALLUSION" AND APPROACHES TO ITS STUDY / U.V. Massalskaya, L.I. Ikhsanova, O.A. Bezzemelnaya // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2020. — № 4 (24). — С. 74—76.


Массальская Ю.В.1, Ихсанова Л.И.2, Безземельная О.А.3
1, 2, 3 , Уфимский юридический институт МВД России, Уфа, Россия
Новые парадигмы лингвистических исследований, которые появились и активно развивались в конце XX века, позволили взглянуть на аллюзию как на средство активизации интертекстуальных связей и один из инструментов человеческого мышления. Этот «инструмент» дает возможность концептуализировать окружающий мир, находить ассоциативные взаимосвязи между разнообразными системами понятий. В статье рассматриваются существующие на данный момент подходы к исследованию аллюзии. Аллюзия исследуется с точки зрения литературоведческого, лингвосемиотического, интертекстуального, когнитивного, когнитивно-дискурсивного, лингвостилистического и лингвокультурологического подхода. В каждом из подходов аллюзия трактуется достаточно широко, что вызывает трудности в формулировке единого определения.
Ключевые слова: аллюзия, лингвостилистический подход, лингвосемиотический подход, литературоведческий подход, интертекстуальность.
Страницы: 74 - 76

Massalskaya U.V.1, Ikhsanova L.I.2, Bezzemelnaya O.A.3
1, 2, 3 , Ufa Law Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, Ufa, Russia
New paradigms of linguistic research, which appeared and were actively developed at the end of the 20th century, allowed us to look at the allusion as means of intertextuality activation and one of the tools of human thinking. This "tool" gives an opportunity to conceptualize the surrounding world and find associative correlations between different systems of notions. The given article examines current approaches to the study of allusion. Allusion can be considered from the point of view of literary, linguosemiotic, intertextual, cognitive, cognitive-discursive, linguostylistic and linguocultural approaches. In each approach, the allusion is interpreted quite broadly, which causes difficulties in formulating a single definition.
Keywords: allusion, linguostylistic approach, linguosemiotic approach, literary approach, intertextuality.
Pages: 74 - 76
Почта авторов / Author Email: jumas80[at], ,


The problem of interpreting the concept of "allusion" has always been acute in linguistics. In a broad sense, it is defined simply as an indirect reference to one or another previously written text or fact. The allusion is often perceived as a kind of "decoration" of the text or oral speech.

However, it is obvious that allusion is a multifaceted phenomenon, which implies the possibility of studying it in a variety of aspects, in accordance with the goals of a particular study, which can have both literary and linguistic or culturological orientation.

The purpose of this article is to consider the existing approaches to the study of allusion and identify its main properties.

Nowadays, there are following approaches to the study of allusion: literary, linguosemiotic, intertextual, cognitive, cognitive-discursive, linguostylistic and linguocultural.

Within the framework of the first of the above-mentioned approaches, one can distinguish a number of works (L.M. Arinstein, M.D. Tukhareli, R.D. Timenchik and others), where allusion is analyzed as a marker indicating the peculiarities of the creative manner of a particular writer. In such studies an analysis of individual cases of the use of allusions, specific to the individual author's style, is carried out, which is often interesting in itself, but does not aim to reveal the mechanism of action of the allusion as a stylistic device [7, P. 4]. In this situation allusion is a marker of the individual style of the writer; the emphasis is on the personality of the author and his/ her picture of the world.

B. Shaw is one of the authors who make use of classic and modern myths to discuss some problems of the society. As an example, one can name the title of the play «Pygmalion» [9], that is the allusion – the indirect reference to the image of the Greek mythology's sculptor.

The linguosemiotic approach to the definition of the essence of allusion is characterized by the understanding of this phenomenon as the free use (substitution) of one word instead of another in oral or written speech (works by A.S. Evseev, I.M. Klochkova, V.V. Ovsyannikov). Using the traditional division of semiotics into semantics, syntactics and pragmatics, researchers of this sphere usually emphasize the special nature of allusion as an object of pragmatics [7, P. 4]. K. Perry, who studies the semantic and pragmatic approaches, considers allusion as a type of reference to a speech act. The researcher notes that an allusion is a sign in a new text that indicates a referent. K. Perry divides allusions to textual elements and processes of activation of texts, noting two characteristics of an allusive unit: statistical and dynamic [8, P. 295]. Thus, the allusion is a sign of a language that encodes a large amount of information. Presented in just one word, it can refer to entire texts or real life events. Also, an allusion is a means of conveying author's intentions, which must be correctly interpreted for a successful communication.

Phoebe: You are just like Jack.

Rachel: … Jack from downstairs?

Phoebe: No, Jack and the Beanstalk [10].

An allusion, in this case, is to the English folklore piece "Jack and the Beanstalk".

Intertextuality as an intrinsic property of a literary text is realized to the fullest extent through the stylistic device of allusion. Allusion is one of the most effective and frequently used means of increasing the semantic and emotionally aesthetic content of a work of verbal art. The essence of the phenomenon of intertextuality lies in the fact that the meaning of a work of art is fully or partially formed by reference to another text, which is precedent in relation to the text being created. Traditional interpretations of the phenomenon of intertextuality presuppose a search for the implications inherent in the text of the work of one or another author, the presence of borrowings in it. N.A. Fateeva addresses the technique of allusion from the point of view of intertextuality and offers the following definition: allusion is the borrowing of certain pretext elements, by which they are recognized in the recipient text, where the predication is occured [1, P. 275]. As a consequence, within the framework of this approach, the concept the allusion turns out to be broad and is sometimes even seen as an unconscious or conscious literary imitation.

The Helen Fielding’s «Bridget Jones’s Diary» hasаstrong reference to Jane Austen’s «Pride and Prejudice». The reference is more than a loan of the plot, it is the same story, with some of the same characters and escalation of events.

"I have to say, I think it’s disgraceful. All it means in this day and age is that а whole generation of people only get to know the great works of literature – Austen, Eliot, Dickens, Shakespeare and so on – through the television."

"Well, quite. It’s absurd. Criminal."

"Absolutely. They think that what they see when they’re “channel hopping” between Noel’s House Party and Blind Date actually is Austen or Eliot."

"Blind Date is on Saturdays,'' I said [11, P. 99].

The emergence of the cognitive trend in the study of allusiveness is associated with the introduction of cognitive science into linguistic research. Within the framework of this theory, allusion is studied through the relationship between linguistic form and mental activity. Currently, a cognitive-discursive direction is also being formed, which is associated with the development of the theory of conceptual integration and mental spaces (J. Fauconnier, M. Turner). Within the framework of this direction, allusion is studied as an element that is realized within the boundaries of discourse and does not exist outside it. Allusion is a way of transmitting and coding linguistic stereotypes that demonstrate the cognitive processes of thinking inherent in a particular language culture.

Rachel: Ok, so uh, who wants the last hamburger?

Phoebe: Oh, alright, that’s it, now I have to go see him.

Monica: Why?

Phoebe: Hamburger. McDonald’s. Old MacDonald had a farm, my dad is a pharmacist [10].

The linguistic approach is associated with the study of the linguistic and stylistic nature of this phenomenon. From this point of view, the allusion is interpreted as a technique that allows one to deliberately use certain words in the text, which, in one way or another, relate to known cultural facts [4, P. 1].


Carol: Marlon —

Ross: Marlon ?!

Carol: – If it's a boy, Minnie if it's a girl.

Ross: … As in Mouse?

Carol: As in my grandmother [10].

In this case, the allusion to the Walt Disney cartoon character, Minnie Mouse, suddenly gives way to an indication of a real person.

Allusion is considered as a means of extended transfer of the qualities of mythological, biblical, literary heroes, precedents and events to those actions, facts and those heroes referred to in the described statement. One of the theories within the linguistic-stylistic approach is the study of allusion within the framework of philological commenting on the text as a whole. Studying the issues of comprehending the literary text, I.V. Gubbenet speaks of allusion as one of the main categories of vertical context, a means of analyzing a literary work, revealing the level of background knowledge of the reader, necessary for a perfect meaningful understanding of a particular work from a philological point of view [3, P. 45]. The allusion shows that the reader has “historical and philological background knowledge” [2, P. 30].

The linguoculturological approach considers allusion as a way of transmitting culturally significant information, the analysis of which allows one to reveal the peculiarities of the relationship between language and culture, as well as to decipher the cultural codes inherent in one or another linguocultural community.

Chandler: Hey, you guys in the living room all know what you want to do. You know, you have goals. You have dreams. I don't have a dream.

Ross: Ah, the lesser-known "I don't have a dream" speech [10].

This allusion is based on the famous speech “I have a dream” by Martin Luther King, which calls for an end to racial segregation in the United States.

Nowadays allusion is rightly considered one of the least defined categories of linguistics. Until now, there is no single and clear definition of this phenomenon. Even within the framework of one direction, the allusion is interpreted quite broadly, which leads to an insufficiently clear separation of it from a number of related concepts. For example, in cognitive linguistics, allusion is considered as a kind of cognitive metaphors; within the framework of the intertextual approach, allusion is placed on a par with quotation and reminiscence, as well as precedent text; in stylistics the allusion finds common features with the epitrope and applique.


Summarizing the above interpretations of allusion within the framework of various approaches to its study, we can say that allusion is an element of the text, the author's style, the culture of a particular linguistic community, as well as a way of encoding and translating background cultural knowledge, cognitive processes and author's intentions.

The allusion is an extensive material for research. The problem of creating a unified classification of allusion and studying its numerous functions remains relevant.

Список литературы / References:
  1. Фатеева Н.А. Контрапункт интертекстуальности, или Интертекст в мире текстов / Фатеева Н.А. – М., 2000. – 280 с.
  2. Гюббенет И.В. К проблеме понимания литературно-художественного текста (на английском материале) / Гюббенет И.В. – М.: Изд-во Моск. ун-та, 1981. – 112 с.
  3. Гюббенет И.В. Основы филологической интерпретации текста / Гюббенет И.В. – М.: 1991. – 250 с.
  4. Мамаева А.Г. Лингвистическая природа и стилистические функции аллюзии (на материале английского языка):Автореф. дис. канд. филол. наук. / А.Г. Мамаева. – М., 1977. – 24 с.
  5. Арнольд И.В. Стилистика современного английского языка / Арнольд И.В. – М., 1973 – 320 с.
  6. Тухарели М.Д. Аллюзия в системе литературного произведения: Автореф. дис. канд. филол. наук. / Тухарели М.Д. – Тбилиси, 1984. – 25 с.
  7. Дронова Е.М. Стилистический прием аллюзии в свете теории интертекстуальности: Автореф. дис. канд. филол. наук. / Дронова Е.М. – Воронеж, 2006. – 24 с.
  8. Perri C. On Alluding / Perri C. Poetics 7. 1978, P. 289-307.
  9. Shaw B. Pygmalion [Электронный ресурс] / Shaw B. – URL: (дата обращения: 10.09.2020)
  10. Friends Scripts [Электронный ресурс]. – URL: chocgal/scripts.html/ (дата обращения: 5.09.2020)
  11. Fielding H. Bridget Jones’s Diary / Fielding H. Publisher: Picador, 1997.

Список литературы на английском / References in English:
  1. Fateeva N.A. Kontrapunkt intertekstual’nosti, ili Intertekst v mire tekstov [Counterpoint of Intertextuality, or Intertext in the World of Texts] / Fateeva N.A. – M., 2000. – 280 p.
  2. Gyubbenet I.V. K probleme ponimaniya literaturno-hudozhestvennogo teksta (na anglijskom materiale) [On the problem of understanding literary and artistic text (on English material)] / Gyubbenet I.V. – M.: Izd-vo Mosk. un-ta, 1981. – 112 p.
  3. Gyubbenet I.V. Osnovy filologicheskoj interpretacii teksta [Fundamentals of the philological interpretation of the text] / Gyubbenet I.V. – Moscow: 1991. – 250 p.
  4. Mamaeva A.G. Lingvisticheskaya priroda i stilisticheskie funkcii allyuzii (na materiale angliĭskogo yazyka):Avtoref. dis. kand. filol. nauk. [The linguistic nature and stylistic functions of the allusion (based on the English language): Author’s abstract. dis. Cand. philol. sciences] / A.G. Mamaev. – M., 1977. – 24 p.
  5. Arnold I.V. Stilistika sovremennogo anglijskogo yazyka [The stylistics of modern English] / Arnold I.V. – M., 1973 – 320 p.
  6. Tukhareli M.D. Allyuziya v sisteme literaturnogo proizvedeniya: Avtoref. dis. kand. filol. nauk. [Allusion in the system of a literary work: Author’s abstract. dis. Cand. philol. sciences] / Tukhareli M.D. – Tbilisi, 1984. – 25 p.
  7. Dronova E.M. Stilisticheskij priem allyuzii v svete teorii intertekstual’nosti: Avtoref. dis. kand. filol. nauk. [Stylistic device of allusion in the light of the theory of intertextuality: Author’s abstract. dis. Cand. philol. sciences] / Dronova E.M. – Voronezh, 2006. – 24 p.
  8. Perri C. On Alluding / Perri C. Poetics 7. 1978, P. 289-307.
  9. Shaw B. Pygmalion [Electronic resource] / Shaw B. – URL: (accessed: 10.09.2020)
  10. Friends Scripts [Electronic resource]. – URL: chocgal/scripts.html/ (accessed: 5.09.2020)
  11. Fielding H. Bridget Jones’s Diary / Fielding H. Publisher: Picador, 1997.

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